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on November 15, 2000
L.E. Modesitt jr's Recluse series is a world of magic and balance. a world that will grab you and make you loss track of time as you are unable to put his Recluse books down. The author, recommends that you read his book in the order of they were published. If you are the person who likes to read the last 50 pages of a book first, and then skip around to different areas of the book as you read it through, then by all means, read the Recluse series in the order of publish. WAIT!..... If you are a reader who truly enjoys finding yourself part of the on going story, as read a series from the start of he story to its end. Then the Recluse series will grab you and not let you go until the conclusion of the series. L.E. Modesitt, jr. has written an 11 books series of the Recluse world so far. This author wrote the Magic of Recluse first. As be has published books, he has jumped around throughout the story time line of the world of Recluse, and put together books of set, and other single books, which he may add another book to that part of the story in a future published book. This author has written the story in books of set, that is the first three book of story: 1st book) "Fall of Angels", 2rd) "The Chaos Balance" & 3rd) "The Tower of the Sunset". Tells the birth and the destruction of kingdom of highly skilled warriors, with the third book leading into the creation of a new kingdom, (Recluse). Then the next book is, 4th book of the World of Recluse) "The Magic Engineer". Then Modesitt, jr. switches to the side of Chaos, and tells a story where the character's of Chaos will became heroes in your eyes too. So with time, you will gain a better understanding of the World of Recluse through the following books: 5th book) "The White Order", & 6th book) "the Color of Chaos". The next set of books that go together in the World of Recluse, are: 7th book) "The Order War", 8th book) "The Magic of Recluse", & the 9th book) "The Death of Chaos". As for the last two book that the author has written, he has drifted into the life of some of the troops found in the World of Recluse. My $0.02 worth.
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VINE VOICEon March 23, 2004
This books chronicles the fall of Cyador and the rise of Naclos. Even though the history and information about chaos/order relationships contained in this one are important for a reader wanting to understand the world of Recluce, I was somewhat disapointed by the fact that this book reads almost exactly like the others in the series. Basically, Nylan, your typical smith/order-mage, spends most of the book struggling to understand and master his powers. The book ends in the same way most of the others have- Nylan destroying a huge White army at the last possible second and being punished for it just like all the other heroes have been, by going blind and aging. I did like the characters in this one, good and bad, but I felt like I knew what was going to happen the entire time (which it turns out I did) so I didn't really get caught up in the suspense very much, just tried to get through it in a hurry to more on to the next one, which doesn't make for enjoyable reading. Hopefully in future books, Modesitt will change up the general story outline, maybe detailing the colonization of the planet by the Rats.
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on August 17, 1999
It was excellent, as is the whole Recluse Series. If you have read any of the the series you'll want this one. If you haven't read any of the series you had better get started and catch up with the rest of us. Modesitt has given us a very believeable and logical system of magic as well as characters you can enjoy reading about. His delve into the history behind the land and his attention to details is superb. I couldn't put it down. Heck I haven't been able to put any of them down.
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on May 23, 2010
The Chaos Balance (1998) is the seventh Fantasy novel in the Recluce Saga, following Fall of Angels. The initial volume in this sequence is The Magic of Recluce.

By internal chronology, however, this volume is fourth in the sequence. It is followed by Arms-Commander.

In the previous volume, something has been happening among the Winterlance crew since their arrival in this universe. Nylan was the first to notice that he can manipulate the forces around him with his mind. Others have been able to heal with their minds.

Then Lord Sillek led the armies of Lornth and Gallos against Westwind. Sillek left the siege towers behind, but his cavalry and foot soldiers advanced toward the tower. The defenders shot arrows at the invaders and deployed traps.

Nylan focused the laser head on the shield of the white wizards and pushed with his mind. The resulting fireball rocked the plateau and destroyed many men. Then Nylan swept the invaders with the laser.

In this novel, Ryba had been the Captain of the United Faith Forces' frigate Winterlance. Now she is Marshal of Westwind. She is also the mother of Dyliess.

Nylan Had been the engineering officer of the Winterlance. Now he is the resident engineer and black mage of Westwind. He is also the involuntary father of several children, including Ryba's daughter.

Ayrlyn had been the communications officer of the Winterlance. Now she is a healer and singer. She also trades with the neighboring nations.

Saryn had been the second pilot of the Winterlance. Now she is leader of the Westwind guard.

Istril had been a marine on the Winterlance. Now she is a healer and the mother of Weryl by Nylan.

Zeldyan is a Regent of Lornth for her son Nesslek. She had been the consort of Sillek -- the Overlord of Lornth -- who had died attacking Westwind. She is also the daughter of Gethen, Lord of The Groves.

In this story, the Winterlance crew has been on the World for two years. They have fought two major battles and won. But they have lost many personnel.

Of the original crew of thirty-one, only nine are left. Nylan is the only surviving male. Yet their numbers have increased from women and children fleeing males in the nations around them.

Nylan is making blades for the new guardswomen being trained by Saryn. He has made over two hundred swords and Ryba wants more to meet the challenges ahead. Nylan is getting very unhappy with being engineer and smith of Westwind and particularly with taking orders from the male hating Ryba.

Nylan is very much desired by the other women of Westwind, but he likes Ayrlyn more than any other. Yet he is having problems with commitment. Ayrlyn and he have stopped sleeping together to alleviate the gossip, but he still yearns for her.

Then Istril appears in his room one night. She wants a daughter like Dyliess. She has come to him with Ayrlyn's permission.

Ayrlyn becomes mad at him for laying with Istril. Then they talk and Nylan finds her to be brutally frank. Such honesty is daunting, but effective.

Nylan starts to seriously contemplate departure from Westwind. He will surely miss his children, but he probably will not miss Ryba. Then the Emperor of Cyador threatens Lornth.

This tale takes Nylan, Ayrlyn and Weryl to Lornth before arrival of the army of Cyador. Zeldyan asks them to aid Lornth against Cyador and both agree. Now they face thousands of troops and even white wizards, but this is nothing new to the Angels.

This novel explains more about the Angels and the locals. The next installment in the subseries -- Arms-Commander -- takes place a decade after this tale. Read and enjoy!

Highly recommended for Modesitt fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of various magics, armed conflict, and persevering engineers.

-Arthur W. Jordin
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on August 2, 2014
Another case of "can't put down"! Especially towards the end as the two "Angels" work out what they have to do and how to do it.

The more you read, the more you dislike the "rats" that the "angels" were fighting that got them stuck in the parallel universe that includes Candar, Recluce and so forth. Everybody agrees on one point in this book -- whether the Angels succeed or fail, life has changed and will continue to change. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Now read to find out what they do and the directions those changes are heading!
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on November 26, 2000
This was first Modesitt book in which i was bored from start to finish. seemed to be mainly a repeat of hi sother works, mainly "The MAgic Engineer" using the charactors from "Fall of Angels". Even the ending comes as completely predictable to anyone who has read the rest of the series. Unrecommended. Try his first in the series, best in the series, "The magic of Recluse" instead.
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on June 27, 2008
Modesitt disguised the Recluce novels as fantasy. Slowly, over the years, he has peeled away the fantasy to reveal a space opera plot lurking underneath the surface.

His greatest talent lies in his meticulous world building based on sound economic principles. I find myself sometimes more interested in how his protagonist makes a living through sound workmanship than in the struggle between chaos and balance.

Nevertheless, the success of the series I believe lies in the following elements: (1) meticulous detail; (2) a time honored reliance on the form of the bildungsroman; (3) an adherence to the balance between static and dynamic qualities in social and economic evolution; (3) romantic elements, such as unrequited love, cavalry charges, friendship, and sacrifice; and (4) continuing mysteries slowly revealed surrounding the "angels," the "rationalists," and the greater story existing outside and off-world from Recluce.

"The Chaos Balance" contains the usual suspects and the usual themes; however, it reveals more than ever the underlying mystery of the Angels, the Rats, and the forest of Naclos. For this fact alone I found the novel satisfying and interesting. I took the novel with me on a trip to Germany, started it when the plane took off, and finished it nine hours later when we landed.

In response to some of the criticism based on the assertion that book is not as good as "The Magic of Recluce," I would like to make this point--Modesitt is a much better writer now than then. He has learned his lessons and honed his craft. The problem I think is that readers have become attuned to his repetitive plot devices and are finding them worn. That is why I gave the book four rather five stars.

Nevertheless, I highly recommend it.
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on October 13, 2014
I never put spoilers in my reviews.
This book can be dry but it's invaluable in understanding this world Modesitt has built. The ending is a climactic as any would wish.
L. E. Modesitt, Jr. writes epic fantasy with political commentary overtones. His world building is impeccable, taking the familiar and giving it a unique twist.
His protagonists are usually underdogs who don't fit into the mold cast for them by others in some way, chronicling their struggles to understand themselves and how to find their place in the world around them.
In some reviews I've read people have said some of the themes in the series are repetitive and, as far as it goes, they are right. While the protagonists are unique as are the storylines themselves, these books span eons and, I believe, are highlighting that history does indeed repeat itself because we are human and seldom learn from other's mistakes. Historical accounts usually don't report events as they are and this is part of the issue as well.
I like that the books aren't in chronological order and that the author tells the story from all perspectives from book to book, highlighting that we are, underneath it all, the same. That makes some uncomfortable, we like to have clear cut good guys and bad guys even though life is seldom black or white (pun intended.)
The only complaint I have is that in his earlier books Mr. Modesitt shows a lack of understanding of the female mindset. In his later books he must have wisely acquired an advisor.
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on June 29, 2011
What can I say, I am a HUGE Recluse Saga fan. I think the books in the series are excellent and I love the flowing writing style. These are those books that you read and can't put down. I have often come to the end of a chapter and needed to go to bed or go do something else, and been so "into" the story that I had to start the next chapter. This Saga will capture you.

The books can be read out of order but some books in the series are sequential - the first book starts a story about a given character, the next book in the sequence finishes off that story. Be sure to read the first of these to start. Other books in the series are stand alone and can be read solo. But trust me, it would be VERY tough to read only one book in this series.

Some series have great "re-read" value and I hold this Recluse Saga as one of my most "re-read" ever. Some of these I have read 4 or 5 times and still enjoy them and have trouble putting them down. From Karl the cooper to Rahl and his issues, the characters in these books come alive and we get real buy-in to what happens to them.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a couple of the Recluse Saga books. You won't be disappointed.
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on September 6, 2012
I have been a fan of Mr. Modesitt's books since I was in high school. This past spring, I started digging through my books and came upon five, long lost, Recluce novels. I rapidly reread the five and, once again, started collecting the rest. Over the summer, I thought that I had finally restocked my Recluce books, but noticed that I did not have The Chaos Balance. So, now my collection is truly complete. I love my Modesitt books, now, just as much as I did those many years ago. This book is no exception.
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